Jim Thoreson, Red Deer Flying Club past president, will be one of the hundreds of pilots and aviation enthusiasts attending the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association’s 2019 Western Canada Convention and Fly In this week in Innisfail. Contributed photo

Hundreds expected to attend COPA convention in Innisfail next week

Red Deer’s Jim Thoreson has had a passion for flying since he was a child.

The past president of the Red Deer Flying Club will be one of the hundreds heading to Innisfail for the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association’s 2019 Western Canada Convention and Fly In, hosted by the Innisfail Flying Club from Thursday through to Sunday.

“I like the freedom up there when I’m flying. I like the adrenaline and all that stuff that goes along with it,” said Thoreson.

On top of being a member of the flying club, Thoreson is a search and rescue pilot.

“I enjoy that. We do some good when people are down,” he said.

Thoreson, who will be driving to Innisfail instead of flying, said he’s excited for the upcoming convention.

“You get to rub shoulders with a lot of people … and talk about different experiences, different equipment, different methods and procedures people use. You put that all in your memory bank, and some day, you might need it,” he said.

Carter Mann, the association’s director of government affairs and communications, said it’s going to be a busy weekend in Innisfail.

“We’re excited to be coming to Innisfail. We’re expecting 400 to 500 people … from across the county and 200 to 250 airplanes,” said Mann.

The event, which will feature a trade show and education sessions, is open to anyone who has an interest in aviation.

“It’s good to get together and discuss what it is we all enjoy doing,” he said.

“Most will be coming in on their airplanes, or airplanes they’ve rented, and the journey to get there is part of the event as well.”

People who only want to attend to see the aircrafts can do so by donation from noon to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Aviation enthusiasts get involved for different reasons, said Mann.

“Some are born into flying families and it’s something they enjoy doing as a hobby. A lot of people use it as a means of transportation, and airplanes for business uses is a very practical way to get around.”

The association covers any aviation that isn’t military or scheduled flight service.

“It runs the whole gamut, from your basic weekend warrior who likes to tear holes in the sky, to maybe someone who owns their own plane and uses it to visit work sites.”

For more information or to register, visit www.flyinnisfail.com.


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